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Old July 22nd, 2011, 01:09 PM   #16
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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Originally Posted by Seymour Clufley View Post
Do you mean Sony's PMW-EX range? It appears they are all 2/3 except for one which is 1/2. Do you think 2/3 would be closer to the EMI-2001?
If we assume the 2001s would normally be used f2.8 to f4, that would be matched for dof by a 2/3" camera at f2-f2.8. But 2/3" cameras tend to be expensive, hence the suggestion of an EX. 1/2" chips, so a stops worth greater depth of field, but used wide open it would be pretty close. A DSLR would be a poor match - unless used very stopped down, which rather defeats the point. Same goes for any large sensor camera - you'd get a closer match with an EX.

But frankly, dof is far from the main thing that needs matching. It's the way modern sensors respond so differently compared to plumbicon tubes that is most important, hence my earlier comments.
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I notice the EX range don't do 25i. They do 50i, though. Could that be used, simply ignoring every second frame?
It's the same thing, but the nomenclature changed. The "official" way of describing 1080i in the UK is 1080i/25 (according to the EBU), the old way used to be 1080/50i. That said, a lot of people are still using the old terminology, and that includes menus in some cameras, though the old terminology is slowly going away. (It used to be the case that with interlace the number quoted was fields, with progressive it was frames. The people who set the standards decided it was preferable to always refer to frames/sec, for both interlace and progressive. Hence for the UK, standards are properly written 1080i/25 and 1080p/25.)
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 02:07 PM   #17
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
An alternative might be to use a Panasonic AF100, which has 50i and you might be able to set up a pretty straight gamma curve using the camera's menus or at least not have the knee.
I read here a guy saying he had customised the knee and gamma on that camera, so it obviously enables customisation there.

It is a 4/3 camera. People on Amazon say it is good for shallow depth of field. Perhaps this is the perfect camera for my purposes?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 02:24 PM   #18
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

The reason I suggested it was because it's close to the 30mm tube size. However, 1970s British TV didn't go in for the shallow depth of field effect, during that period that would've mostly been seen on 35mm feature films.

Many modern video cameras have set up menus that allow you adjust the look of the camera.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 03:52 PM   #19
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale
it's close to the 30mm tube size. However, 1970s British TV didn't go in for the shallow depth of field effect
Well, the crucial thing for me is the appearance of British TV at that time. Other people have said the EMI-2001 stills show shallow depth of field but you're saying 70s British TV didn't go in for that. This is all quite confusing for me!

I am eager to "summarise" the various suggestions that people have made.

FILMING:
  • light from above, preferably harsh lights such as Fresnel
  • no knee
  • interlaced 25fps
  • similar depth of field (this needs clarification)
POST-PRODUCTION:
  • increase highlights to full white
  • remix colours to emulate tube blending
  • synthesise comet trails by hand

Does anyone have any comments on that process?
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 04:23 PM   #20
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

Here are some more stills taken from Survivors, as reference points. Scroll down to the text "DVD Preview". There are more in the linked pages "Series 2 DVD" and "Series 3 DVD".
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 05:42 PM   #21
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

Kinda cool seeing the EMI 2001 training video. Interesting to note that the EMI 2001 was so heavy it needed four people to mount it on a pedestal... and that when it was introduced in 1967, it was considered to be an absolutely state of the art piece of equipment.

I've always liked the look that British TV was known for back in the days of tube cameras... it had a warmth and depth to it that seemed absent from TV productions in North America.
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 06:01 PM   #22
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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Originally Posted by Seymour Clufley View Post
Well, the crucial thing for me is the appearance of British TV at that time. Other people have said the EMI-2001 stills show shallow depth of field but you're saying 70s British TV didn't go in for that. This is all quite confusing for me!
You may find this helpful - Image sensor format - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and scroll down to the end to find the table. For depth of field purposes, the area measurements are maybe most useful - doubling the figure is equivalent to a difference of a stop. So you can see that compared to an AF101, the 1" tubes of the KCR40 correspond to a stop different - if we assume f4 for a 1" camera, you'd have to work at f5.6 with an AF101. Use a 1/2" camera, and you'd be at f2.

The trouble with using an AF101 may then be sensitivity. No problem in good lighting (just use ND), but in lower levels you'd have to open iris and be at far shallower dof than you're trying to achieve.

But frankly I think all this talk of dof and large sensors is a bit of a red herring. As Brian says, the look you're after never really had the shallow effect that seems to have become the current craze. Yes, there'd be a certain differentiation, but not to the extent that is currently fashionable.

As for lighting, then much of Survivors is exteriors, so the subject of lighting is also not really relevant to define "the tube camera look". (I do have the programme on DVD.)
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Old July 22nd, 2011, 07:10 PM   #23
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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I think all this talk of dof and large sensors is a bit of a red herring.

the subject of lighting is also not really relevant to define "the tube camera look".
Then what do you think defines "the tube camera look"? Do you think it's purely to do with how the tubes processed light?

Did you see the processed stills I linked to? They were made by my computer program. For each pixel, it gets the channel values, then lays them G>R>B>L using the "Add" blending mode. Would you say the effect was "tube-like"?

You also mentioned a "distinctive noise pattern" in tube footage. How would you say it differs from any other type of noise? (I'm thinking of AFX's bog-standard "Noise" effect, for example.)
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 03:03 AM   #24
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

The tubes would be a large part of the look, but there is an entire signal chain which is analogue rather than digital and you also have to work within the confines of that old system. I guess that might be like trying to recreate the sound of analogue sound recordings using digital equipment.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 05:42 AM   #25
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

I recall in the early 80's when CCD's first came in how the camera dept were very sceptical about them as they didn't have the look of tube cameras, I suppose we have the same situation now with CMOS.

We did lots of music shows at Tyne Tees TV at the time including The Tube (no pun intended) U2 at red rocks and Queen live at wembley and the tube camera's could be a real pain due to the burning that occurred on the tubes due to the lights, the hand held's were also quite poor quality compared to the marconi Mk7's and the thompson camera's we had in the studio and on OB's.

The programmes are being repeated on sky arts at the moment and they look very good and at times a lot better than some of the betacam and other DVcam content that is on air.

I suppose the best way to emulate old tube camera's is to record at the best quality possible and do it in the grading process although I do also recall a lot of people not liking the look of some tube camera's as they were too clean and cold looking compared to the film that we also used at the time.

As also said a lot of the BBC look was down to the lighting and the studio would have had lots of 5k and 10k lights to get good exposure, re-creating that these days may be impossible but some of the old BBC ser from the 70's still look very good on screen and Yesterday has been repeating some of them recently.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 06:26 AM   #26
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

There was varying levels of aperture correction (electronic emphasis of higher frequencies) applied, quite often until you got the edge enhancement effect, which was the look that some TV stations used,.
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Old July 23rd, 2011, 06:37 PM   #27
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

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Originally Posted by Seymour Clufley View Post
Then what do you think defines "the tube camera look"? Do you think it's purely to do with how the tubes processed light?
I certainly think that's the main aspect, though I agree with what Brian says about the whole analogue signal chain. Including PAL coding, and the way it made the chrominance resolution far less than luminance - it probably equates to something like 4:1:0 in modern parlance, or even less. And people worry about "only" 4:2:0 these days..... :-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Nattrass
.....although I do also recall a lot of people not liking the look of some tube camera's as they were too clean and cold looking compared to the film that we also used at the time.

As also said a lot of the BBC look was down to the lighting ........
Yes, that's interesting. I do remember location drama with electronic cameras being regarded as inferior to film at the time, for the sort of aspects you say. But what's interesting now about seeing some of the "Tenko" being repeated is that one series used electronic cameras for the exteriors, the later one used film. (All interiors done electronically, both series.) And now I find the electronic exteriors far preferable to those done on film - the film ones just look dull. And the electronic cameras match well to the studio interiors - the film exteriors don't.

For that reason, I'm not so sure about the "look" of these 70's cameras being much down to lighting. In the case of Tenko (and Survivors) what is being referred to is exterior work, and in many cases with only natural lighting.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 02:35 AM   #28
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

Yes, the film inserts really stand out now, however, they always did. Perhaps the film inserts signified this is a real place, rather just a TV studio set. Although, if you run that old film through a modern telecine the quality increase is amazing.
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Old July 24th, 2011, 07:45 AM   #29
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

I was a BBC lighting cameraman during the seventies and have to cringe when I see some of my footage on dramas today on archive programmes.. Funny that at the time, the film inserts never looked as bad as they do now...!
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Old July 24th, 2011, 08:23 AM   #30
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Re: Recreating the look of tube cameras

Perhaps the television sets have improved in recent years, or the compression used in the transmission chain doesn't like the film inserts compared to the cleaner video. They certainly look a lot more muddy.
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